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Virginia volleyball sweeps Big Apple Tournament games

The Cavaliers battled Quinnipiac and Columbia and left New York with two wins

<p>The Cavaliers took care of business in New York and will face Old Dominion in a midweek competition Tuesday.</p>

The Cavaliers took care of business in New York and will face Old Dominion in a midweek competition Tuesday.

Virginia volleyball traveled to New York this weekend to play in the Big Apple Tournament hosted by Columbia. The Cavaliers (3-1, 0-0 ACC) defeated Quinnipiac in a 3-1 match and took on the Lions (0-3, 0-0 Ivy) in a five set showdown resulting in a 3-2 victory to go undefeated on the weekend. 

The Big Apple opener against the Bobcats (2-4, 0-0 MAAC) proved to be a success for Virginia after an error-ridden first set. The Cavaliers suffered from a low hitting percentage of .111 and surrendered five points in the form of service errors. Even with these unforced errors, though, Virginia kept the score tight, not allowing Quinnipiac to lead by more than four. However, the Cavaliers were unable to close out the set and ended with a 22-25 loss.

Junior middle blocker Abby Tadder led the way for Virginia in the second set with seven kills. Paired with the Cavaliers’ nine additional kills and two long scoring runs, Virginia was able to take command and win the set 25-21. 

The Cavaliers built off the momentum of the second set and matched their 16-kill tally in the third. Freshman pin hitter Lauryn Bowie contributed three of those kills, helping Virginia notch a .341 hitting percentage against the Bobcats’ .049. An eight-point run early in the set helped solidify the third set victory 25-14.

Bowie and junior outside hitter Brooklyn Borum put up big numbers in the fourth set, with six and four kills, respectively. Graduate student middle blocker Veresia Yon added to the defensive effort with two solo blocks and two block assists. Despite a four-point run by Quinnipiac on match point, the Cavaliers ended the fourth set 25-22 and took the match 3-1. 

After their win against the Bobcats, Virginia took on Columbia in a five-set tug-of-war for its final match of the Big Apple Tournament. Bowie continued to dominate the stat line with a colossal 20 kills, and junior setter Ashley Le supplemented the offense with a career-high 50 assists. 

The first set was close for the Cavaliers and the Lions, but 16 kills by Columbia all but ensured a victory for the Lions. Two late kills by Borum brought Virginia closer to a tie but Columbia sealed the set 25-22 with two kills and a block in rapid succession.

The Cavaliers produced on both sides of the ball in the second set. Virginia tallied five aces, four blocks, and 10 kills for a strong distribution of points among the offense and defense. After a 19-10 lead the Lions fought back, but eventually fell to the Cavaliers 25-20.

After going back and forth for most of the third set, Columbia went on a run to lead the set 24-20. A major effort by Virginia decreased the lead to one, but a service error on set point tipped the set in the Lions’ favor 25-23.

With a 2-1 set lead for Columbia, the fourth set was a must-win for the Cavaliers. Virginia recognized the do-or-die moment and fired up the offense, tallying 18 kills in the set in comparison to the seven by the Lions. Graduate student outside hitter Ciera Hecht contributed four kills alongside Bowie with five. Yon, with three block assists, helped the Cavaliers close out the set 25-13.

The sheer force of Virginia’s offense continued into the fifth and final set. Two aces each by Hecht and sophomore defensive specialist Kate Johnson and six kills by the Cavalier offense cemented a large lead over Columbia. A final kill from Bowie closed the set 15-5 and resulted in a 2-0 weekend for Virginia.

Two tough back-to-back matches were a test for the Cavaliers, but both the offense and defense worked hard to succeed in the Big Apple Tournament. Defensively, junior libero Milan Gomillion added a tournament total of 34 digs. On the offense, Le, Bowie and Tadder put up stellar numbers throughout the weekend — such as guiding the offense to a .429 hitting percentage in the closing set against Columbia — helping push Virginia to victory. 

Next up for the Cavaliers is a home match against Old Dominion Tuesday. First point is set for 6 p.m., and the event will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.


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